Apple’s (RED) partnership has raised $200 million

Dotty Nyambok is an HIV Counselor at the Embakasi Health Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. She is halfway through her list of patients when two girls walk into her tent.

Helima, 18, is here because she suspects she’s contracted HIV from her boyfriend, and her friend Winny has come to support her.

Dotty begins a familiar ritual: She unwraps a sterilized needle, pricks Helima’s finger and drops blood onto a test strip. Then she sets the timer. 15:00, 14:59, 14:58…

While they wait, Dotty asks Helima what she thinks will happen if she tests positive. With grim confidence, she answers, she will die.

That’s when Dotty shares something of herself. It’s information she reveals when she senses someone is in desperate need of kindness and hope.

“I’m HIV-positive,” Dotty says. “So when you have HIV you will continue living, because you will take your medication.”

The girls exchange surprised, shy smiles in the tent at Embakasi, a facility whose HIV treatment services have been supported by Apple’s (RED) partnership since 2012.

Dotty counsels Helima, who suspects she contracted HIV from her boyfriend.
Dotty counsels Helima, who suspects she contracted HIV from her boyfriend.

 
Since its founding by Bono and Bobby Shriver, (RED) has raised more than $600 million to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, $200 million of which has come from its partnership with Apple, the organization’s largest corporate donor.

Last year, Kenya had 53,000 new cases of HIV. Young women are infected at twice the rate as young men. As high as these numbers seem, they’re a vast improvement from years ago.

In 2000, a staggering 9.3 percent of all adults in Kenya were HIV-positive. At the same time, because the drugs were in short supply, World Health Organization guidelines stipulated that lifesaving antiretrovirals (ARVs) should only be administered once a patient’s CD4 count, which measures immune system health, fell below a very low mark. It meant patients had to be extremely sick to access ARVs, and for many, that was too late.

5:27, 5:26, 5:25…

That grim landscape was recent history when Dotty discovered she was pregnant in 2007, at age 19. During a prenatal visit, a clinician told Dotty she was HIV-positive, and pointed her to a treatment clinic two hours away. There was no counseling, no compassion, and no follow-up.

The experience left her traumatized and in denial — she didn’t tell anyone about her status and didn’t seek treatment.

Dotty’s son died in her arms at just six weeks old. He was buried in a cooking oil box — the smallest they could find.
A few months later, Dotty went to the Embakasi Health Centre.

It’s one of thousands of facilities in Kenya and seven other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that began receiving support from the Global Fund in 2002.

The Global Fund has helped to radically change access to HIV treatment, and provides 17.5 million people with ARVs — now available from the moment they test positive. As a result, Kenya has seen a 52 percent drop in new HIV infections since 2000. As of last year, just 4.8 percent of all adults were HIV-positive.

In 2009, Embakasi opened a special Comprehensive Care Clinic (CCC) for HIV patients that distributes ARVs, made possible largely from Global Fund grants.

“The Global Fund and (RED) have made a huge impact in the lives of HIV-positive patients,” says Robina Anene Muli, who runs the Embakasi Health Centre. “Especially when it comes to testing kits, ARVs and other drugs — they provide 80 percent of our supplies and funding.”

During her first year at Embakasi, Dotty was introduced to the Mentor Mothers, a group of peer educators who are HIV-positive and have given birth to HIV-negative babies after taking ARVs. The group was created as part of the CCC expansion, with Global Fund grants.

After a few months of treatment, Dotty found out she was pregnant again.

On November 7th, 2009, Dotty gave birth to a healthy baby boy. “Now I had a reason to live,” she says. “Because of Morgan. He saved my life.”

When Morgan was six months old, Dotty applied to be a Mentor Mother at Embakasi.

“I decided to do counseling because I really don’t want what happened to me to repeat itself,” says Dotty. “My purpose is to touch a heart — and if I diagnose someone I feel like we are then attached.”

In many facilities, HIV-positive peer educators like Dotty are changing the way people live with HIV.

“Peer educators are a vital piece of the most effective HIV treatment programs,” says Luisa Engel, Chief Impact Officer at (RED). “Their work ensures lifesaving information reaches the people who need it most, and they act as a powerful force against stigma.”

Three years ago, Dotty started a new role at Embakasi, as an HIV Testing Counselor. Sometimes she takes an HIV test in front of her patients, to prove she has the virus and to show them that a full and vibrant life is possible.

“I would like to see a different perception about HIV,” says Dotty. “And that’s what I hope to do when I disclose my status.”

:03, :02, :01…

Back in Dotty’s tent, Helima’s results are ready. She places the test strip in between examples of what a positive and negative result look like.
“Tell me what you see and what it means,” says Dotty.

“Negative,” says Helima. In an instant, the tension dissolves. After a chat about how to protect themselves, Dotty sends the girls off with warm goodbyes.

On Dotty’s walk home that night, she picks up some meat to cook for dinner on the hotplate in the one-room apartment she and Morgan, now nine years old, share.

After dinner, at 7:58 p.m., an alarm on Dotty’s phone sounds. It signals the start of a ritual they have repeated every night for the last two years — ever since Morgan was old enough to understand his mom’s illness.

Morgan walks over to a small dresser, pulls out a bottle of pills and carefully taps one out. He hands the ARV to his mother, who swallows it with water.

These are the frontlines of the war against AIDS in Africa. And this is how it is won, one expression of love, one act of kindness, at a time.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Note: More info about Apple’s partnership with (RED) which has supported HIV/AIDS programs that provide counseling, testing, and medicine that prevents the transmission of HIV from a mother to her unborn child here.

11 Comments

    1. Perhaps in Dogpatch the hillbillies think that 5, 6, or 7 years olds have the capacity to consent to sex. In the civilized world, they call that rape, and they call people who can’t tell the difference pedophiles. They call the children victims, and they don’t deny them medical attention.

      Even for this site, Brutal Truth and somesense have posted unmitigated pieces of filth and nonsense. If they had read the article (which admittedly would have required literacy), they might have noticed that the $200MM isn’t being spent on promiscuous men who won’t use condoms. It is being spent on the innocent children of women who were forced to have sex without a condom by their husbands, steady partners, or rapists.

      I realize that this might be difficult to grasp in the only developed country in the world that does not believe that poor people deserve medical treatment. It might help if you noticed that maternal and infant mortality here are spectacularly high, and that our life expectancy is growing shorter, notwithstanding all the technology we have developed.

        1. Brutal,

          To repeat: 5, 6, and 7 year olds cannot “have sex” because they lack the understanding to give their informed consent. Sex without consent is rape in every country of the world. If some boy claimed to have had consensual sex with your daughter in the first grade, I think you would agree,

          I read the article. Yes, it is a warped sexual culture, but you are trying to run the causation in the wrong direction. The author is quite clear that the prevalence of AIDs causes the warped culture, not the other way around. HIV-positive men who think they are dying think they have nothing to lose by casting their seed as widely as possible before they die, and they are teaching their sons to do the same. Since the whole point of the exercise is to beget children, some of whom might survive, those men are never going to use condoms.

          Nothing in the article suggests that 5, 6, 16, 27, or 38 year old women are giving their consent to having unprotected sex with men who might be HIV-positive. To repeat yet again, sex without consent is rape. Providing medical assistance to rape victims is simple humanity. It is not enabling the rape culture.

          1. “Sex without consent is rape in every country of the world. If some boy claimed to have had consensual sex with your daughter in the first grade, I think you would agree.”

            Why is the first-grade boy the “rapist” in your example and the girl the innocent? You’re anti-male bias shines like a Klieg light. Hint: They are either both innocents or both statutory rapists. In the USA, it’s technically illegal. Both have broken the law by having intercourse with an underaged person. The female is no less responsible than the male.

            And, the article to which I linked above couldn’t be any clearer: Africa’s warped sexual culture causes the prevalence of AIDS in Africa. It’s even right there in the headline:

            Africa’s fatal sexual culture spreads AIDS – The Guardian

      1. TXUser
        calling others like myself ” posted unmitigated pieces of filth and nonsense.”

        You call people names yet did you actually read my post carefully?

        I didn’t even not talk about not caring for kids.

        I’m talking about Apple and other companies attitude in GENERAL as seen here quote : “(product red, charitiy fund raises, concerts, AIDS parades, stores decorated for AIDS day etc etc)”.

        You going to tell me ALL of these are going to kids in Kenya?

        I’m saying that companies like Apple spend so much on ONE disease which is actually easily preventable while ignoring a whole host of others where the ability to prevent is way harder

        You are using a specious argument (which has nothing to do with my post) mixing up my point, that AIDs is actually an easy to prevent disease compared to almost all others, with kids, to emotionalize a simple point I made and conflate the issues.

        People like you trying to OBSCURE THE FACT THAT AIDS IS ACTUALLY EASY TO PREVENT WITH A PIECE OF RUBBER — due to sexual sensiblities or whatever -YOU ARE ACTUALLY SLOWING DOWN the PREVENTION of the DISEASE.

        if the general population used safe sex in Kenya the AIDs issue won’t be so prevalent or spread to kids. That’s simple truth.

        Go look at the STATS (I actually had an innocent post but didn’t want to bring it up but since TX user is calling names.. ) showing Culture is big culprit. here:

        Countries like Swaziland have over 27% infected with AIDS while USA has 0.3%. And if TXUSER etc think POVERTY is the issue (TXuser claims from thin air that I “do not believe that poor people deserve medical treatment. “) note:

        , Senegal and poverty stricken Somalia in Africa (which is mostly muslim and strict sexually) has 0.4%. Buddhist and HIndu Sri Lanka has so few its not even statistically relevant.

        TXUSERs and their ilk with their fake concerns about kids don’t seem to care very much about the millions of kids dying and suffering from ALL KINDS of illnesses other than AIDS. Apple etc are just supporting parades, charities, concerts, specially marked RED products JUST for AIDS. Where the blue product for cholera, the green for Dengue ? or whatever?
        (Note just this year there is Product Red Watch band, phones and also the Diamond Ring , all for AIDS)
        Yet supposed Social Justice Warrior types like TXUser can’t see any BIAS in this at all…
        or perhaps he’s into it as AIDS unlike many other illnesses is a social media darling.

        Like I said stats show 50% of seniors will get dementia and it’s related illnesses like Parkinsons, Alzheimers , that is if you’re married either you or your wife will get it.

        When we took care of our dementia parents it was no joke. Soiling beds, taking an agitated dementia patient to the dentist is near impossible (and it’s hard to brush their teeth), when they hurt themselves like break a bone in a fall or have internal problems you don’t know what’s wrong except the screams.

        And unlike AIDS there is no easy or known way to prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s etc. I wish I could prevent in for them and for my own future by the simple expedient of wearing a ‘rubber’ like a band around my wrist.

        THE CHANCES OF GAY PERSON WITHOUT AIDS TO GET AIDS IN USA IS ZERO but the CHANCES HE WILL GET DEMENTIA IS 50%. THINK ABOUT IT.
        Even Gay people should actually look at funding for these other things which will kill him more easily than easily preventable AIDS.

        My neighbour has terminal lung cancer. Incredible pain every day, a strong ex manual worker who now can barely move. NON SMOKER, fit.
        If you told him wearing a ‘rubber’ would have given him 100% chance of not getting such a thing I have no doubt what he (or I) would say.

        I know another slowly engulfed by Parkinsons. The body is dying but the mind is fully alert. Encased in a dead body like a mummy. No one really knows why Parkinsons happens, no easy way to prevent it.

        TXUSER etc seem to think that only. AIDS patients suffer.
        Where are the Apple parades for Dementia, Parkinson patients, the rock concerts etc ?

        I am only posting so harshly now in response to
        TXuser posting vitriol IN RESPONSE TO MY BASICALLY INNOCENT POST (BELOW). IT SHOWS WHO ACTUALLY POSTS : “unmitigated pieces of filth’. Calling others in pain as ‘hillbillies’ show who is actually a hillbilly.

  1. I sympathize with AIDS sufferers but let me put this out there:

    if i guaranteed you won’t get cancer , strokes , parkinson’s or dementia ( which will affect 50% of Americans over 70) etc etc

    if you wear a piece of rubber around a body part, say your wrist.
    100% guaranteed you won’t get those diseases, wont you do it?

    yet we keep supporting the fight against AIDS which is so easily prevented while other diseases are underfunded

    I had two parents with dementia. one passed away after 20 years. living horribly with the disease which doctors are basically helpless about. if i was told ‘wear a rubber and you 100%” guaranteed you will be safe from a similar fate” i i would do it in a second.

    yet instead of helping these other basically no one knows how to avoid diseases companies like Apple only hive helpf AIDS (product red, charitiy fund raises, concerts, AIDS parades, stores decorated for AIDS day etc etc) which can be prevented with a condom.

  2. I’m most appreciative of Apple’s contribution – had no idea that theirs was a third of all funds Bono has raised. I had no idea it was so effective and the future iPhone covers I get will be Product(RED).

    For those who are more into the blame game maybe they can take the time to remember Ryan White and others like him.

    For somesense, I am sorry for your parents’ conditions and the lack of successful research that could help them. My wife and I have been through 7 cancers in our almost 50 years of marriage. Research has been critical in keeping my life alive – she had acute leukemia – and I’m supportive of research in all areas of research, including HIV research.

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